Thursday October 24 2013
Real Juventus show up in Madrid

Not helped by a controversial red card, Frank Tigani believes Juventus deserved more after a strong performance at Real Madrid.

Over the summer former Juventus boss Marcello Lippi said: “Juventus need a striker of a great level to win in Europe.” After being convincingly bundled out by Bayern Munich last season, they certainly needed something. And the common-held belief was that, as Lippi said, all they required was one quality forward. And they eventually signed one – in the name of Carlos Tevez.

Yet, the Argentine’s arrival has done little to improve the Old Lady’s fortunes in Europe. Well, at least up until now. Indeed, Antonio Conte’s side were in a better situation at this same time last year, where they had claimed three draws and three points. This time around, they have just two and qualification seems a little further off following Wednesday night’s defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.

Claudio Marchisio admitted as much after the game. “With this defeat qualification becomes more and more difficult.” It is not, however, entirely out of their hands just yet either. They will have to try and avoid defeat when they host Los Blancos in two weeks’ time and then they have to beat both Copenhagen and Galatasaray in Istanbul. It will definitely not be easy and, as Marchisio went on to warn, losing their next game would mean saying goodbye to qualification. And he is probably right.

It is an unfortunate predicament Juventus find themselves in. Perhaps just a little bit more luck and things would have gone a little better for the Old Lady. This was certainly the case at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

For the best part of the match, Juventus more than matched their great European rival, particularly in the first half. After 25 minutes the visitors had recorded six attempts on goal with three on target. Real Madrid had just two shots and one on target. It was much the same story after the first 35 minutes, though at this stage they were dominating possession too.

Yet it counted for little or indeed nothing. By the time the half-time break arrived Juventus found themselves trailing. Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo had the Spaniards in the lead even if Fernando Llorente’s goal gave Juve hope in the second half.

Yet, any such hope dissipated early after the restart when Giorgio Chiellini was shown a straight red card after tussling with Ronaldo. Replays suggest it was a harsh decision, if not outright wrong and that Ronaldo had made a meal of it – and he certainly did. As Conte opined later: “It was absolutely not an elbow, but I still have to laugh, because if that can be considered a ‘clear scoring opportunity’ then so is everything.”

Though evidently frustrated, Conte was nevertheless pleased with what he saw from his men. “Tonight this team proved it can walk on this stage with the right tactical adjustments and at times played better than Real Madrid.” Speaking of tactical adjustments, Conte surprised many when he opted for a 4-3-3 formation, rather than his tried and trusted 3-5-2. And it has to be said, the new system worked to great effect.

The Old Lady has not been at her swaggering best of late and results have reflected this. But she showed on Wednesday night that the swagger is still there. Apart from the early goal, the backline of four were effective in keeping out their ridiculously star-studded opponents for large swathes of the game, even after going down to 10 men.

Further up the pitch, led by a tireless Tevez, Juve were sharp, cohesive and penetrating. In the middle, Paul Pogba once again exhibited his prodigious ability, especially after taking the reins from Andrea Pirlo who was withdrawn on the hour to a standing ovation from the Spanish crowd. It was a lovely show of respect.

Despite all their endeavour, the Italians ultimately ended up empty-handed when they deserved more. Many will point to the referee’s sending off of Chiellini as the turning point in the game and perhaps rightly so. After all, playing away to Madrid is difficult enough. When you are a goal down and then go a man down, well, it becomes an almighty task.

Yet, Juve reacted strongly and they will take much away from their overall performance. Like Conte said, they certainly did show they can match it with the best. If they wish to keep their European hopes alive, come November 5 they will have to show it all over again and be sure that this time they get what they deserve. 

Read more from Frank Tigani at The Divine Ponytail

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

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Have your say...

If they laugh at you for watching football it's just sad. I live on North America and most of the time people dont even know what offside is.

So what your saying is Ronaldo should be held accountable for chiellni's foal?

You do realize thats not how it works right?
on the 24th October, 2013 at 6:49pm
I do get behind some Italian teams but not Juve and Milan or any other northern team that allows its supporters to hurl racist and insulting abuse week after week at a certain southern team even when they are not even playing them.Don't the followers of those teams know they have southern players too? The blog says the decision may have been wrong that's why I say dubious. Hope Juve and Milan lose all three of their next european games!
on the 24th October, 2013 at 6:32pm
It is a joke that in a game of that magnitude, with a decision like the red card given to Chiellini, the referee (who is German) and Cristiano Ronaldo are not held accountable for that. Absolute joke. Thats why soccer is what it is. Here in North America many just laugh at it and at me for being a fan, and in all honesty with a game like that I can't defend it.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 6:26pm
It's been a long time i've seen an Italian team play this good. Changing from a 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3 seem to have had a more positive effects than earlier anticipated. Big ups to those guys and a brave Conte...Forza Milano still!
on the 24th October, 2013 at 5:56pm

Kiddo, Milan has more or less always been in CL. Most of the time we go to knock outs. Chose your words carefully when accusing milan for struggling in Europe. At least were there, year after year. Consistently.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 5:36pm
@Vidal dive?

Are u kidding me? He clearly miss hit. He should have been sent off. A lot more obvious then Chiellini
on the 24th October, 2013 at 5:35pm
@Vidal dive?

Are u kidding me?
on the 24th October, 2013 at 5:32pm
Glad to see Juve use another formation, as a result they put in a fine performance against an overrated Real side, I can't see why they can't win in Turin. Take out Ronaldo and they're no better than any other side in Europe. I would like to to see a similar formation in the return game looking something like this?




Giovinco (wide left or Trequartista)
Tevez (wide right or Trequartista/swapping roles with Giovinco
on the 24th October, 2013 at 4:09pm
I just eager to know, was the penalty possession happening after buffon's save or before it? What i saw was that the ball was already in keeper's control when chiellini committed foul. Anyhow juventus need to be more brave and self estimated
on the 24th October, 2013 at 2:56pm
They certainly deserved everything they got in Madrid. Juve are showing to be a poor advertisement for Italian football when they set foot in the CL. They have little ambition when it comes to taking teams on and trying to win the game from the 1st whistle. Look at Napoli's approach; exciting, fearless and doing proving a real handful for some top teams.

Vidal is an overrated disgrace btw.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 2:47pm
No need to panic. Juve have two games at home (which they must win) and one away to Galatasaray which they can win. There is still a chance to qualify but they MUST stop conceding so early in the game and they MUST learn how to hold on to their lead. Blaming the referee is just a poor excuse from a coach like Conte. Hopefully, he will have his full team back by 5th Nov as Tevez plays a lot better when Vucinic is in the team.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 2:43pm
Did Vidal dive or was he clipped? You decide...
on the 24th October, 2013 at 2:40pm
there's no excuse to the penalty
but the red card, was completely out of proportion thanks to ronaldo's acting, a yellow should be enough

the numbers don't lie, conte's new system can compete to any big team
on the 24th October, 2013 at 2:19pm

Ummm clear penalty, you can't wrestle someone down like that specially not on set pieces However the send off was extremely harsh. However, let's think about it for a second. Ronaldo starting sprinting so does chiellini. Isn't it pretty obvious who's the faster one? If he wouldn't have he's arm up he would be fine however if the arm wouldn't be up Ronaldo would be way a head. Still harsh

Juve did good and I salute them for that
on the 24th October, 2013 at 1:25pm
Dario, understood you didn't watch the game. Nobody is claiming the penalty was dubious. Your reading ability clearly is but that's another story.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 1:23pm
A lot of the time italian teams lose games before they even step onto the field. Psychologically and physically they can not compete with europeans.

The English players are warrior like, spaniards are turbo powered dwarves. Italians are like ballet dancers, want years on the ball, nice and slow, take your time, sorry folks, that doesnt fly in europe, only in boring serie A.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 1:00pm
I expected Juve to lose. Agree with Tevez Juve cant cry about the ref, that happens in footy. You make your own luck. Had juve tried harder and done what real teams do, they should have beaten copenhagen and Gala. Juve messed about and now they deserve to get spanked.

Cant just say Juve need a striker. We need a much better defence some really energetic powerful beasts in midfield. 2 creative talents and 6 fast, energetic beats behind them. Conte needs to get soem intensity into the team.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 12:58pm
Maldini's heir

Milan struggle in Europe and Serie A. The last time they didn't struggle in Europe was 2007. Since then they have done nothing but struggle. Juve only struggle in Europe.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 12:52pm
Bittersweet, but... Until The End (and Beyond)... Forza Juve!
on the 24th October, 2013 at 12:45pm
Hmmm no mention of Vidals absolutely embarrassing dive -Juventus still an embarassment to Italy in Europe year after year...
on the 24th October, 2013 at 12:23pm
Chellini finally got what he deserved for. The style he is representing, provoking and unfair performance was penalized last night. I would say Vidal was very lucky not getting 2nd yellow for the flight of the season faking a penalty. This is not the style of a great team but rather of a weak desperate...
on the 24th October, 2013 at 12:14pm
Conte, you had to laugh last night, but did u laugh in Verona vs Chievo or vs Torino? You should be 9 points behind Roma and still you laugh. The problem wasnt last nights game, it was the previous two. Things are not that funny when the ref makes mistakes against you is it? Regardless, Forza Juve from an Interista, we all should be behind Italian teams in Europe. I actually have a grudging respect for Conte.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 11:47am
@Dario - you had no interest? So why are you even commenting on something you didn't see. Juventus did their fans proud last night - even if defeat.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 11:25am
Dario - sad that, as an Italian, you can't get behind Italian teams in Europe. Truth is that whichever team you support, you will undoubtedly need Juve, Milan, Napoli, Fiorentina and Lazio to gain some crucial co-efficient points. Italy will probably soon have just two CL entrants. But, as you say, "what goes around comes around". Forza Italia!
on the 24th October, 2013 at 11:22am
Didn't watch the game myself last night as I have no interest but to hear that Juve lost controversially with a dubious penalty given and a player sent off has made my day. What goes around comes around. Hope they get knocked out as they are a disgrace to Italian football!
on the 24th October, 2013 at 11:17am
Juve really shot themselves in the foot with their first wo games. They should have collected at least 4 points from those games. I think they will get a win against RM in Turin. They are just going through a bad patch at the moment. It was around this time last year when they lost to Inter and strated putting in some underpar performances(except last night of course). They will qualify from this group.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 10:53am
Did they show up? lets not forget this Madrid team have been average thus far, Juve did slightly better than normal. feel sorry for them tho the ref was shocking!! Ronaldo a cheat! Ref lost it gave in to the occasion mentally week! Juve at least may now try and win the Europa league in their own stadium. Anyone else agree that Llorente although scored is very bad! considering his stature he seems week or am I being harsh.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 10:25am
Juve have been very poor this season, last night they were OK but they lacked the urgency they normally play with, they are just leaking goals too easily, and still, as always, unable to score enough, their group was easy enough and now they are going to be in Europa league if they are lucky. This man handling in the penalty area is a real problem, against celtic last year they escaped it, they have had fortunate goals given and ruled out in the league. I am nervous watching them this season
on the 24th October, 2013 at 10:24am
They played well and were without doubt the better team. But it's getting desperate now.

They will probably need a favour from Copenhagen and/or Madrid to keep Galatasaray within reach for the trip to Istanbul.

But they can't give up. They are well capable of getting the seven points needed to go through and if it comes to needing a win on the last game, I think they'll get it.
on the 24th October, 2013 at 10:23am
If that had been the ref for the Celtic games last year how many penalties would have been given? Juventus will have to get on with it, dodgy penalties and refs are a fact of football life for every other club. They have to realise this is Europe. The same conditions do not apply as Seria A
on the 24th October, 2013 at 9:42am

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